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Back to the '80s: REACH showcases Sumter School District's talented

BY IVY MOORE
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 6/26/18

They've explored Motown, the Beatles' era and several other themes in years past, but this summer, students in Sumter School District's Reinforcing and Expanding Artistic and Creative Horizons program have been examining the 1980s - when none of …

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Back to the '80s: REACH showcases Sumter School District's talented

Posted

They've explored Motown, the Beatles' era and several other themes in years past, but this summer, students in Sumter School District's Reinforcing and Expanding Artistic and Creative Horizons program have been examining the 1980s - when none of them were yet born.

More than 180 gifted and talented students in grades 4-12 have been studying the music, visual arts and theater of the 1980s, guided by teachers in those fields, and, on Wednesday, the public is invited to a showcase of their talents.

REACH Program Supervisor Heather Clemmons said participation in the program is voluntary - students are nominated by teachers, parents, themselves or their peers. Of about 700 students referred, Clemmons said about 200 were invited. Attendance in the program held at Crestwood High School has averaged about 185 daily, she said.

While noting that "our district has some of the most talented students in our community and state," Clemmons added that the teachers participating in REACH are also gifted in their fields.

Teaching visual arts are Laura Cardello, Ashley Womack, Ryan Kennedy, Nicole Bowman and Crystal Chambers; theater arts instructors are Kelly Melton, Matt Wilt and Lexi Melton; and choral instructors are Deborah Horton, Linda Beck and Ashlee Poole.

Cardello said the visual arts program has studied the work of Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Roy Lichtenstein, while also learning the various mediums used by artists.

"I teach the third- and fourth-graders," she said, "so we want to introduce them to prismacolor, oil, watercolor, pastels, clay, charcoal, etc. It's sort of a foundation for future art studies."

Students' work will be displayed in the large lobby of Crestwood High School's fine arts center beginning at 5 p.m.

At 6 p.m., the students in the choral program will take the stage for a nostalgic look at the music of the '80s.

Beck said highlights of the hour will include a "Tina Turner medley with choreography by Aliayah Grady. We'll also have a segment called 'Out of Africa,' which the audience can help provide the 'hand percussion' part for."

Some of the '80s songs included are "Don't Stop Believing," "Time After Time," "We are the World," "Love Shack," "Born in the USA" and "I've Had the Time of My Life."

Beck has choreographed the pieces other than the Tina Turner medley.

"We'll also share some video and sound clips - a little history of the 1980s," she said.

Drummer David Shoemaker will join keyboardist Beck and others in the live band.

At 7 p.m., the theater students will take the stage with a variety of short programs, including a version of Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

Theater students "have also been studying films from the '80s - anywhere from 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' to 'Ghostbusters' - and will be performing mini-puppet shows and short skits to represent these '80's films." Clemmons said. "They will also have a piece in which they use hand puppets."

REACH is supported by state and district gifted and talented funds, Clemmons said. Students pay $30 to cover materials, snacks, transportation and lunch for the program that meets for three weeks on Monday through Thursday.

"The REACH program allows these students to continue to grow in the talents they possess, adding everlasting friendships, camaraderie and a genuine love for the arts," Clemmons said. The public "has a chance to view our students' extraordinary talents and hard work that they've put into our program at our REACH Summer Arts 2018 Showcase."

There is no charge for admission to the showcase, and the public is invited to attend. Crestwood High School is at 2000 Oswego Highway (U.S. 401), Sumter.